By Mary Robinette Kowal
Read by Mary Robinette Kowal
“Perfection is different to every viewer.”From Goodreads:
― Mary Robinette Kowal, Shades of Milk and Honey
Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men.
Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right--and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.
A delightful cross between a Jane Austen story of manners and...well, magic. If I had to compare this story to anything, I'd say it's fairly similar in tone to that of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, though Shades is not as dense.
I loved Jane, she was very Anne Elliot-esque, and Anne is probably my favorite classical heroine. Her sister, Melody, on the other hand, frustrated me to no end (people who act like her generally do).
I listened to the audio book version of the story, and it was read by the author, who did a wonderful job. I always feel like I'm getting the truest version of the story when it's read by the author, and Kowal did a lovely job with the telling.
I'd recommend this book to fans of Austen, fantasy, and historicals. It'd also work well as a YA crossover.